Should Smart Learning be fun?

On Malta’s National e-Learning Strategy 2008-2010

“e-Learning is learning and teaching that are facilitated by or supported through the smart use of information and communcation technologies (ICTs); it will be used to help make learning more meaningful, motivating and fun”

Is e-Learning really facilitating teaching? IS learning becoming more fun?

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21 thoughts on “Should Smart Learning be fun?

  1. >Personally whenever I have to do something myself I find that it is more fun and worthy and that I learn a lot better. I hope that this view is shared by the students. Whenever I find that I need to make use of online resources I try to make them interactive and fun for my students as I believe that the students need to have a good learning experience or else they will not be motivated to continue trying to learn material covered. Students get bored very quickly and as such each learning experience should be varied and different from other learning experiences. I find that on the whole e-learning does facilitate teaching as we as teachers will benefit from diverse ways of presenting lectures to students. Also e-learning will help the students in remembering more of what they have learnt in class.

  2. >I think that any kind of learning should be fun, not just e-Learning. As educators, we should strive to have all our lectures to be interesting, and, why not, fun. What I'm trying to say here is that we do not need to necessarily use e-Learning to have 'fun' lectures.The point though is that e-Learning is supposed to _help_ make learning more meaningful, motivating and fun. It is just that: helping us to achieve these things. They should always be things we want to achieve though, whether we use e-Learning or not.

  3. >I guess that the technological element in learning always adds to the 'fun' aspect involved in e-learning.All this depends on the quality level of material being presented. It's one thing having a static website simply providing written information, and it's another having interactive forms/quizzes/chat sessions, etc…Today's students are far more technologically-oriented, and so their level of expectation is quite high…something which if not reached may end up being a boring activity.

  4. >Our political culture seems bent on cultivating SMART things. One of the issues brought up in parliament some time ago was the issue of IT infrastructure to support economic and educational activities. the latter supporting the former in the future. e-learning per-se is a loosely defined term. Whe one uses technology in class, surrounded by students it makes a lesson more active and more inviting. On the other hand if e-learning is a substitute for class, there may be more issues involved. For instance, what type po pedagogy should be used? What type of lesson plan? How do i involve remote students. How do i get them to interact? I understand that there are certain extreme cases where the availability of remote classes is required, but normally I dont think that this is the case. Especially in Malta. The type of e-learning scenario I would opt for is the class participation and have technology assist in helping students learn

  5. >The times that I have used e-learning during my lectures, I noticed an increase in my students' motivation and interest. I use the internet alot during my advertising lectures, since linking to sites help me to show students various advertisements and commercials, on which then discussion in class is generated Students enjoy it more rather than having myself explaining theory. My concern is that e-learning is being promoted so much in Malta but are the teachers – all teachers – being given training on how to use e-learning tools and techniques?

  6. >The relationship between e-learning and fun can be quite a hot argument. Personally, I believe that fun can actually enhance learning and teaching without actually reducing it to mere entertainment. Teaching is less fun when one is uncomfortable, more formal, or hypersensitive about what one says or how one says it, and obviously then, the impact on students is likely to be negative as well; e-learning would avoid all this.On the other hand, a negative aspect I see about all this is that I believe it is quite difficult to actually convey passion for the subject/topic through e-learning, I feel that something would surely be lost without face-to-face interaction and video cannot convey this something.This will also make it more tough for online students as they may have to work harder (which is often less fun) to have passion instilled in them.

  7. >I don't know whether smart learning SHOULD be fun. However, it certainly CAN be fun AND more effective too. In one of the courses which I deliver, I have to teach students communication skills, one of which is that of assertiveness, within which one finds the broken record technique. This technique basically involves repeating over and over again what one has to say until the other party gives in, especially when one is at risk that the other party infringes one's rights due to having more power/knowledge/etc. As you can see, it is not very easy to convey this technique easily in words. However by coincidence I had come across a link to a video on Youtube wherein there is an "encounter" between a very angry Maltese hunter and a Birdlife member. This video is obviously not an academic montage – it is a very real situation which many of my students can relate to and perhaps even find somewhat funny. However the value in this video is the way in which one can see the broken record assertiveness technique being applied in a practical scenario. To this effect, I can definitely say that by showing this video in my courses (parts of which I have to censor), students are receiving a much more enjoyable and fruitful learning experience. The message comes through very clearly and the risk of classroom boredom is alleviated through the sharpness of the reality of the video as well as the very fact that it's a welcome variation from the standard teaching method. Incase anyone would like to check this video, here comes the link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebauxCSpow0

  8. >When it comes to theoretical stuff students tend to get bored. Last semester I was delivering a theoretical module and to keep the lessons interesting both for the students and for myself, I used to complement the lessons with quizzes, role plays and videos. I remember once they had to define “skills” and “qualities” and the majority of the students failed to understand the difference between the two. Then, I showed a video from youtube and they grasped the whole idea straight away!On the other hand I agree with Chris that certain topics are very difficult to explain through multimedia.

  9. >@ Chris- but why do you consider e-learning to be an uncomfortable experience? When speaking of e-learning here are you referring to online courses or merely using technology to aid you in your lectures?

  10. >I think that when e-learning is put in place professionally, two of its principal features are variety and interactivity.Variety helps diminish monotony. It may be observed throughout e-learning 2.0 as content is constantly being added / updated.Interactivity lessens apathy and boredom as it keeps the student alert to what is coming next. WEB 2.0 technology offers all necessary tools to make e-learning interactive.

  11. >Personally I believe that e-learning is fun and our students find it likewise. I agree with most of the preceding comments that it will surely be a change from the traditional teacher in class giving a presentation everyone sitting down and 'listening' with little or no interaction. E-learning is fun because it helps us teachers interact better with our students using the latest gadgets, reducing the class boredom and narrowing the generation gap (its not the first time that I get stuck using a computer programme or make a mistake and ask the assistance of the 'highly-tech' students) But, this is part of the experience where the student learns and teaches his tutor working and sharing experiences together. Besides, e-learning adds colour, sound and vision to project the lesson better.

  12. >I am very pro e-learning and with the technology we have today, e-learning is much more easier and fun to do. E-learning offers possibility to students to study with foreign University without the need to leave their country or their jobs. When I thinking of e-learning in Malta I find it problematic to offer a complete online course for the Maltese citizens when one can easily reach the college or University … unless online courses are offered for foreign students. Blended learning is much more appropriate for our country i.e. the students will follow the material online and once in a while they will have a tutorial with their tutor. This will offer flexibility to the students and have a 2 way communication. In my opinion, due to the limitations of our country, if a full online course is offered, the students will still try to contact the tutor personally or somehow they would know the tutor.My main point is that to create an onlineone has to be planned carefully and consider the student needs. The terms e-learning and online sometimes are used very frequently without considering the implications. Thus one has to take into consideration the resources required and the target audience who will be taking the online courses offered

  13. >@ Leanne, in my previous point I was referring to online courses and no, personally I do not consider e-learning to be an uncomfortable experience, I was actually pointing out that e-learning would be a better option for teachers who would feel uncomfortable during normal chalk and talk lessons; if the teacher is feeling uncomfortable in such a situation then obviously this would have its repercussions on students; so maybe e-learning could actually help in avoiding this uncomfortable situation for the teacher and then of course reduce the negative impact on students. E-learning could actually turn this situation into a healthy one which would be more beneficial and interesting for both sides (teachers/learners). On the other hand, although I am in favor of e-learning and the use of various technologies in teaching I cannot hide my concern about explaining certain topics through multimedia; I think it is really difficult in some topics. Another thing which worries me is that I believe that it is really hard to actually manage to convey passion for the subject through an online course.

  14. >I do find e learning very challenging in my case. Teaching humanist subjects can be quite tricky to express morals through digital text. E learning can certainly help me developing a database of relative information, I call it an extensive scrapbook made out of digital bookmarks relating to categories or areas of one's interest. I encourage students to be tech friendly, however through experience I can see that some might find the desk chair set up in their rooms slightly too comfortable resulting in lack of confidence in face to face interaction.

  15. >I came across this service 'ITunes U', basically a service open to all academic institutions that have content to exhibit. I recommend teachers to use it. Quite an interesting service I might add, however seeing its results and reading some comments left by other academic users brought to my attention issue about presenting the classroom experience in a software package. Very interesting to see as well the controversy that in some UK institutes paying students complain that their institute's resources are open for the non-customer. Would like to see your views on this.

  16. >Well, smart learning should definitely be fun if handled appropriately. After all, we would have invested loads of money of our national budget. For better or for worse we must start thinking seriously about e-learning as our students are living with these ‘electronic toys’ every day. What we should care about is the way we present this new form of teaching. Personally, I agree with blended learning. I think that keeping ourselves drowned in old books is not ideal but on the other hand, turning our classrooms into computer labs. is not the best way to include an e-learning approach. One should remember that technological tools may look glamorous and motivating for the moment but may be boring once we all get used to it. This makes me adopt a blended approach and illustrate my teaching with the aid of technology whenever possible without compromising the importance of books.Crisby

  17. >Personally I definitely do not find e-learning fun and I think that I learn well through personal contact and discussion in class. I also feel that I cannot follow a language course on-line; both as a student or as a teacher. I think that the explanation and the discussion in class cannot be replaced by anything on-line as on-line body language is missed and one could only have a perception of the person and not see the real person. So I think that blended learning, where notes are available on-line in order to support learning in class is what workd best for me.

  18. >@ Chris BonniciYes you are right, if a teacher is not comfortable teaching a subject this would definitely be beneficial for the class. I further agree with you on your unease of teaching certain topics via e-learning. Focusing on my subjects (as I am not sure what subject you teach) I believe that some lectures can be aided through multimedia whilst others would be difficult to infuse into the lecturing system. However, this does not mean that there are not ways and means to combat this (as I have recently discovered). I personally would be reluctant to take on a course which is only online. Knowing the way I am I may easily lose interest in such a course as I prefer personal contact with the lecturers. Don't get me wrong I am not against a little online communication or lecturing just as long as it is not completely online

  19. >One could not say that there is not a relationship between e-Learning and ‘fun’, but such a relationship can be viewed from several perspectives. One should be very careful when using or interpreting the use of e-learning, as it could turn up to be mere entertainment. A wide number of e-learning users and participants suggest that e-learning is fun, but what makes this delivery fun? Professor David Kieras, from the University of Michigan stated that once, an experienced classroom teacher, was very nervous about moving online and he also felt intimidated about speaking to over 200 participants that he could not see. However, Prof. Kieras explains that this lecturer found out that he became comfortable very quickly and that although the experience was a bit weird, it was ‘fun’. Many of the comments in most blogs have clearly explained that there are many differences between teaching in the classroom and online. The fact is that teachers may be a bit uncomfortable at first because we may find it hard to transfer our skills effectively without seeing students, and without looking at their reactions. Prof. Kieras, in his study reports that students using e-learning comment positively on the professionalism of tutors and educators. It is an obvious fact that teaching is less ‘fun’ when we are uncomfortable, too formal, and very sensitive to every word that is said – this is what happens in the traditional classroom. Online teaching could provide for comfortableness, less formality, but still, a sense of professionalism, that is complemented with ‘fun’. Online teaching is especially fun when the class is very interactive.

  20. >I think whether elearning is actually making learning more fun / more motivating depends on a lot of factors namely – whether the course is a completely online one, or whether it is a blended course with maybe additional resources being given online.When one is following an online course, I would say that this is interesting as it is a different kind of learning that what we're traditionally used to… and maybe this makes it more motivating for the students. I am following an online course at the moment, and I do not think that this being online is making it any more 'fun' than if the courses was taught in the traditional manner. I must say that at the beginning it was actually quite daunting – since I'm not a technological person at all – but once I got used to the system – my perspective of this was similar to any other course I have ever followed …..When it comes to having resources and additional material online I think this would be more motivating and fun for the students – as it would be something different to what the students are usually used to and therefore they would look forward to the different resources they could used after each lecture.

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